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An easy low cost system to store the mainsail



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What is the issue?
Gathering up, flaking and lashing down a big mainsail that’s sprawled all over a cabin top is a heavy wearisome and often daily task aboard a boat. It is particularly difficult with a high-set boom, when the sail is being blown about on a slippery rolling deck and as often as not approaching a busy harbour. It can be an absolute pain to handle shorthanded and particularly singlehanded.

Why address this?
Simplifying this will take a lot of stress out of sailing, and a neatly stowed mainsail will give a longer service life.

How to address this?
All that is required is the assistance of a short length of sturdy string and a shackle to make the job much easier.

Laze Jackeen
Photo: Brian Lennon
Attach about 30 cm of strong string to the first reefing point on the leech of the mainsail - the length of the string may need some adjustment until it suits your boat. Tie the other end to a small shackle that can run freely on the main topping lift.

When dropping the mainsail, the string creates a loop or pocket in the lower section of the sail. As the rest of the sail is lowered, fold it into this loop. This is best achieved working from the aft end of the sail forward. Finally, apply the sail ties and the sail cover!

Essentially what happens is that the lower loop of the sail acts almost like a bag for the rest of the sail. Unbelievably simple, cheap and effective!

Most people try to escape sail storage through off-the-shelf drop it & bag it lazyJack and lazybag solution kits from Harken, Schaefer or EZ-Jax. But these are highly expensive and may need sail modifications. Likewise, lazyjacks are another set of lines to manage, may cause chafe if not watched carefully, and can cause problems of their own such as getting caught around spreaders when gybing.

The problem can be entirely eliminated by in-mast furling but that is an expense of another order and these have been known to get stuck fast and unable to go in or out.

This simplifies mainsail storage no end, especially when single-handed, and can be tried at little or no cost. If it works it provides an almost no cost alternative to installing a lazy jack system of mainsail storage or inmast furling.

With thanks to:
Originally contributed to a sailing magazine, author unknown.

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